Getting a new law firm up and running can be a complex and time-consuming task. As well as finding an office and employing staff, you need to get all of your IT organised and operational.
Today, as more and more law firms are using technology to reduce overheads and be more responsive to the demands of clients and employees, choosing the right IT infrastructure and assets from the start is essential.
Here are five key questions to ask regarding your technology set up when you're a new firm deciding software:
1. What hardware do you need?
As a new law firm, your hardware needs can be fairly straightforward – especially if you’re just starting out. Key items you’ll need to consider include:
- Computers and Devices: Depending on how often you and your people will be working remotely will help you answer the first question you should be asking yourself. Do I need a tablet or laptop, or just a workstation? Before the Cloud, a workstation was the only answer, but now as more services available to practitioners are available via the cloud, we see tablets and laptops selling 3:1 more than workstations. The returns in productive by allowing staff to work remotely are significant. It’s also wise to choose the same type of machines across your firm making it easier for support. Read more about choosing a computer for your law firm >
- Printers and Scanners. As a law firm, you will inevitably output a large amount of printed material as true paperless office’s are just not there yet. A lot of documentation is still reviewed and cross-checked manually, so choosing the right printer is vitally important. Capturing the documents that you receive into a digital format for filing is also a very important function in your firm. Here’s a quick tip, make sure it can scan both sides of the paper at the same time! Also be sure to choose a scanner that can send documents directly to your Practice Management application along with a cost recovery feature, so you can automatically bill your clients for any scanning you do, or at least see how much it might be costing the firm. You may also want to choose a managed print service from a provider such as Boab IT.
- Digital fax. Rather than renting a phone line, a digital fax can help you send and receive information digitally whilst being a fraction of the cost. Today, digital faxes come with a raft of great features and can also interact with your other assets, which can reduce paperwork throughout your office.
2. What internet provider will you choose, and what package is right for you?
As a legal practice, you simply can’t afford to be let down by technology, especially when you’ve got important deadlines or pending court cases. For this reason, you need to ensure your internet provider can offer an appropriate internet speed for the size of your business and your number of users as well as reliability.
When it comes to choosing an internet provider, service is a major factor, and service level guarantees are extremely important.
You should also look for a provider that offers 24/7 monitoring, and that can provide you with automated alerts regarding your connection.
If using Cloud services, the selection of your internet service is one of the most crucial you will make as it is your principal way to access all your information related to various matters.
Whilst very rare, some firms also consider a secondary link to ensure a reliable fail-over process can occur minimizing any impact to the firm and their staff’s productivity.
If you’re unsure which internet solution is right for you, our expert team can help.
3. Will you choose cloud-based or on-premise software?
When you operate a small law firm, time and money are precious commodities.
Today, more and more firms – of all sizes – are moving their legal software to the cloud; opting for pay-by-the-month licensing rather than investing in expensive, on-premise software solutions that expires after a few years if expensive maintenance agreements are not maintained.
Cloud-based software delivers several important benefits for new law firms.
For a start, when your software is in the cloud, your people can access the information they need – securely – from any connected device and from any location, rather than needing to be in the office. This means everyone can work more efficiently and effectively.
With cloud-based data, you can also ensure everyone is working with the most current files and has immediate access to all required files and correspondence. As a small law firm, this level of flexibility is crucial.
When your software is in the cloud, it’s also easier to maintain and manage, especially in you invest in a managed solution. Updates are made automatically, meaning your software stays secure and current, and you don’t need to rely on your internal IT resource/s to do manual patches and upgrades.
Security is another vital consideration. When you choose a cloud-based Office 365 Business Essentials Bundle, Business Bundle, Business Premium Bundle or Enterprise E3 solution via the Boab IT Portal, you receive access to Skykick Unlimited Cloud Backup for your email, SharePoint and OneDrive. As well as the confidence that your data will be regularly and securely backed up, you also have the peace of mind of knowing that your data is hosted on-shore, in the Microsoft Azure cloud.
4. What phone system will you use?
Phone systems can be difficult to understand, and potentially, very complex. There are all kinds of options on the market, and various features and benefits.
At Boab IT, we recommend our Cloud IP Phone solution which includes all the features expensive enterprise systems do. You just pay for it and all usage on a month-to-month basis. This can include both traditional desk phones, as well as a soft-phone on your computer and mobile phone.
As a small law firm, this solution enables you to benefit from features such as unlimited calls, and 24/7 unlimited support.
5. How will you set up your web domain?
To ensure your users can find you, it’s important to have a professional online presence – especially as a new firm. You don’t want to be communicating with clients from firstname.lastname@example.org or similar, it doesn’t look very good.
Registering @mylawfirm.com.au is a breeze via the Boab IT Portal. It will also be setup automatically to integrate with your Office 365 in a snap!
Whether you’re setting up a new domain, or transferring an existing one, ask Boab IT about how we can automate and streamline the process for you via the Boab IT portal.
Want to know more? Ask the experts at Boab IT
At Boab IT, we specialise in providing technology solutions to the legal sector. Our expert team is available over the phone on 1800 675 805, 24/7, to answer any questions you may have, or provide guidance on which technology options are right for you and your firm.